Banking, finance, and taxes

5 Reasons Why You Should Use an Accountant vs. Tax Software

urbazon / E+ via Getty Images

Preparing your annual tax return can feel like untangling a nest of angry hornets. Adding, then subtracting, number upon number buzzing around in your head, each deduction a potential sting, until you’re ready to throw in the towel. From deciphering arcane tax codes to scrambling to meet filing deadlines, the experience of wrestling with taxes is a turbo-charged pain. The good news? There’s an alternative to that turbo-charged headache: Tax accountants. Hiring a professional accountant alleviates most of the pain and drama of tax prep. Continue reading to discover 24/7 Wall St.’s list of 5 reasons why you should use an accountant vs. tax software.

1. Time

Source: Kathryn Koehler/Courtesy of 24/7 Wall St.
In the twilight of your life, you won’t wish you’d spent more time working on your taxes. #truestory
  • According to the IRS, the average American spends 13 hours preparing their tax return.

Time Is Money

Source: Brankospejs / iStock via Getty Images
Time is money.

There goes your weekend. Hope you didn’t have plans. According to the IRS, the average U.S. citizen spends 13 hours- the equivalent of nearly two full work days- preparing their tax return. Beyond the expenditure of your time are the associated challenges of filing your taxes. Why put yourself through the mental gymnastics of DIY tax prep when you can hire an accountant? Especially when the expense will be less than two days of lost work or the cancellation of your weekend fun? The average U.S. taxpayer spends $323.00 for professional tax preparation, divided by 13, that comes to $24.80/hour. Now, calculate what your time is worth. If it’s more than 24.80 an hour?  Leave your taxes to a professional, while you enjoy your weekend!

2. Better Software Options

Source: Kathryn Koehler/Courtesy of 24/7 Wall St.
Tax accounts have more comprehensive software options.
  • Professional accounting software is superior to the software available to consumers.

Hiring an Accountant Makes Cents

Source: Tim Boyle / Getty Images News via Getty Images
Chances are, your accountant isn’t using OTC tax software

With dozens of software programs available to help consumers with tax preparation, simply choosing one is potentially time-consuming and headache-inducing. And that’s before you even get down to business. The reality is that professional accounting software is superior to consumer tax software. The primary differences between the two lie in their complexity, support resources, and cost. Professional accounting tax software is designed for accounting professionals who require advanced features and support for handling complex tax situations and multiple clients. Consumer tax software is geared toward the needs of individual taxpayers with simple tax needs. Accountants invest thousands of dollars in the software that they use to prepare tax returns. This translates to, fingers crossed, more deductions and a grander return.

3. Your Future

Source: Kathryn Koehler/Courtesy of 24/7 Wall St.
Accountants are professionals who help make your future tax returns brighter.
  • Tax accountants can help you navigate your future with their knowledge of estate planning and taxes.

Your Future and Theirs

Source: Kathryn Koehler/Courtesy of 24/7 Wall St.
Some of the best reasons to hire an accountant to do your taxes.

Your weekend plans (see #1)? They won’t wait. They grow up fast. Since you’ve already opted for the accountant to save your weekend, take full advantage of their skillset and expertise. Tax accountants help you prepare for the future by providing strategic tax planning and financial advice tailored to your specific circumstances. They can help you anticipate and mitigate potential tax liabilities, and plan for major life events like retirement or education expenses. By analyzing your current financial situation, tax accountants can identify opportunities for tax optimization and wealth accumulation that align with your long-term objectives. Because those long-term objectives grow up fast. 

4. Human Factor

Source: Kathryn Koehler/courtesy of 24/7 Wall St.
You may love your tax software, but does it love you?
  • Leaving society to algorithms will be like leaving healthcare to stethoscopes. –Abhijit Naskar


Source: megaflopp / iStock via Getty Images
An accountant has more working knowledge than a software program.

From cashiers to customer service representatives, the human factor is disappearing. Why not add tax prep to the list? One word: judgment. A human accountant offers several advantages over a software program when it comes to preparing taxes, and their ability to use their best judgment based on each client’s financial situation and goals is paramount. Human accountants can factor in individual circumstances and preferences, which software programs cannot replicate. Human accountants can address client concerns and questions with empathy and understanding, heretofore unmatched by any software program. If you’re still not certain that an accountant is the way to go, number 5 on our list of reasons why you should use an accountant vs. tax software should convince even the most skeptical holdouts. 

5. The Audit

Source: Kathryn Koehler/Courtesy of 24/7 Wall St.
With an accountant by your side, you needn’t be a chicken about getting audited.
  • 1/200: Your chances of being audited by the IRS
Source: fotyma / iStock via Getty Images
Tax audits have been known to induce nail-biting in otherwise unflappable folk.

Being audited is a stressful and daunting experience. The process typically requires gathering extensive documentation and providing explanations for discrepancies or questionable items in your tax return. It can be time-consuming and may require taking time away from work or family commitments. However, with proper professional preparation, many audits can be resolved quickly and without penalty. And having an accountant in your corner throughout your audit? Priceless. 

Want to Retire Early? Start Here (Sponsor)

Want retirement to come a few years earlier than you’d planned? Or are you ready to retire now, but want an extra set of eyes on your finances?

Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help you build your plan to retire early. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free.

Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.